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EMC Insurance: The Basics of Your Experience Modification Factor

Managing and understanding workers’ compensation insurance costs is a difficult task, says EMC Industrial Hygienist Krista Scott. You’ve likely heard the term “experience modification factor” aka “experience mod,” and Krista says that this concept is one key to managing insurance costs.

The Basics:

The experience mod is a numerical representation of your claims history. It can be either above or below the industry average of 1. A number below 1 means you are paying less than your industry’s average for workers’ compensation insurance, while a number greater than 1 means you are paying more.

Your company’s number is calculated based on a variety of factors, with the number of accidents or injuries your workers incur on the job being the most important. At its most basic, an experience mod is calculated using the number of actual claims divided by the number of expected claims, however there is more to it than that. For example, the equation also takes into account the frequency and severity of injuries, the company’s payroll and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes.

The most surprising part of the experience mod is the long shadow that each incident has. You won’t see the impact of an accident or injury immediately because the calculations are based on a three-year rolling average, and the most recently completed policy year is not included in the current year’s calculation. That means there is a delay between the incident and its impact. After that, each incident affects your insurance premiums for three years before it drops off. During this time, the claim amount may be updated to reflect the current amount spent on insurance, meaning that prices based on that long-ago accident can increase during the three years the incident is part of the calculations.

To find out more about experience modification factor, check out The ABCs of Experience Rating from the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI).

Lowering Your Number:

Because any work-related accident or injury affects your experience mod, it pays to do as much as you possibly can to keep accidents from happening. And beyond that, it’s also important to manage any injuries in the most efficient way possible.

By working with us - we can provide assistance in improving safety and working toward lowering your company’s experience mod: This framework will help prevent injuries when possible (frequency) and control the costs of injuries that do occur (severity).

To Improve Safety:

  • Examine your claims and categorize them based on their type (such as slips, trips and falls; strains and sprains; auto accidents; and other categories) and cause (such as physical, human or organizational), then focus your efforts on addressing these root causes (such as a piece of machinery that leaked water onto the floor, causing a slip and fall accident).
  • Develop a solid program to investigate accidents and near-misses to help identify why accidents and injuries happen in these areas. Krista suggests reporting all claims, even zero-dollar ones, explaining, “While that may seem odd, zero-dollar claims have no effect on your experience mod, but these incidents become part of your record. That will help you identify trends that may predict an underlying hazard that you can address before someone gets more seriously injured.”
  • Give us a call to help improve safety for those performing at-risk tasks. Solutions may include slip, trip and fall assessments, ergonomic surveys or fleet safety training. For a DIY approach, many of the resources and materials you’ll need to improve safety can be found on the EMC Loss Control website. You may also use the SmartMod® app to help you calculate your experience modification factor and estimate the impact of a loss.
  • Implement a comprehensive safety program complete with training, with special focus on those trouble areas you have identified. Update the program periodically as you resolve some issues and encounter new problem areas.
  • Improve your overall safety culture. Leading by example and encouraging your employees to look out for each other can have rewards beyond just team building. When everyone is checking for potential hazards, you can identify and solve problems before they cause an injury.

The next step is to manage the cost of any injuries that do occur. Doing so can have a positive impact on your experience mod.

To Manage Injuries:

  • Develop a strong return to work program to bring workers back to the job while they are recovering. This can be a game changer for improving your experience mod. Workers who are back on the job are earning at least part of their normal paycheck, reducing the amount of indemnity payments made by the insurer as well as the total cost of the claim which is included in your experience mod calculation.
  • Offer wellness programs to keep workers healthy and in good shape - fit employees usually heal more quickly than those with health conditions.
  • Employ a post-offer, prework screening process to hire employees who can perform the physical demands of the job on the date of hire. After designing an accurate and validated job description with physical demands, work with a physical therapist to design a test. This can help ensure your new hires are physically qualified for the position.

Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 

POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2018 6:00 AM
Travelers Insurance: Two Types of Liability

An important part of understanding your responsibility for products and services is to understand how that responsibility is defined by law. Although various states and countries have differing laws relating to enforcement of legal liability, two legal theories typically apply to product liability: negligence and strict liability of defective products.

Due to the complexity of these legal theories, you should consult with a qualified attorney. The following is only an introduction to these two theories to help familiarize you with the concepts that you may encounter in product liability claims. 

Two Types of Liability

In the context of product liability, a claim for negligence focuses on the conduct of the manufacturer or product seller, and the alleged failure to use reasonable care in some aspect when manufacturing or selling the product. For example, an injured consumer may argue that a manufacturer failed to use reasonable care in its inspection or quality controls, or that it failed to employ reasonable care in product and component part testing. An injured consumer may argue that the seller failed to assemble or install the product with reasonable care.

As a defense to a negligence claim, the manufacturer or product seller may argue that the injured consumer failed to use the product with reasonable care. For example, a manufacturer or product seller may argue that the injured consumer failed to read and follow clear instructions. In the event of a lawsuit, the conduct of all parties is typically considered in the context of a negligence claim.

Strict Liability

Under the theory of strict liability, the focus shifts from the conduct of the product seller or manufacturer to the product itself, and whether the product is defective, regardless of the degree of care exercised by the manufacturer or product seller. What constitutes a “defective” product under this theory may vary greatly between various states and countries, but generally, it requires a showing that the product presents a substantial likelihood of harm to consumers due to one or more of the following:

  • Design defect  a product may be found to be defective when the design does not include a necessary and feasible safety feature.
  • Manufacturing defect – a product may be found to be defective when it is not manufactured in compliance with the design.
  • Warnings and instructions defect – a product may be found to be defective when its communications (instructions, warnings, manuals, labels) accompanying or affixed to it are inadequate, inappropriate, misleading or confusing.

Understanding the legal theories of liability can help you understand the risks you face. Travelers recommends you look at your entire product life cycle in a holistic manner to better understand your liability exposures and identify opportunities to better protect your business, brand and reputation. We work with businesses of all types and sizes every day, and our experience can help you construct a risk mitigation program that fits the unique needs of your business.

Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134  

POSTED DECEMBER 04, 2018 6:00 AM
A Recent Report by Lockton Companies Brings a New Spin on the Work Comp Lag Time Debate.

Reporting lag time is defined as the time between the onset of a work injury and the point at which a claim is filed with the insurer.

Lag time has been a hot topic in the workers’ compensation debate for years. Several scientific studies have found that claims filed later tend to have higher costs. The thinking is that managing a claim earlier allows injured workers to get proper medical care, which results in faster return to work.

But a recent report by Lockton Companies brings a new spin on the lag time debate, arguing that delays are not the cause of high claim costs, but rather a symptom of poor safety and claim practices.

So, how does lag time truly impact claim costs, and what can companies be doing to improve their workers’ comp protocols?

What you need to know

Reporting lag time is defined as the time between the onset of a work injury and the point at which a claim is filed with the insurer. In 2000, The Hartford Insurance Company found the average medical and indemnity costs of their permanent, partial and temporary lost-time claims gradually rose from 18% when reported on the second week to 45% when reported on the fifth week after the day of the injury.

A later study by NCCI published in 2015 verified the findings and added that median costs were lowest when sprains, strains and contusions were reported during Week One, and fractures and lacerations during Week Two (excluding the day of the injury). They also found that claims reported after Week Two tend to involve complex injuries, attorneys and lump-sum payments, and are less likely to be resolved within 18 months.

Lag time mirrors systemic problems

A new report from Lockton Companies published in June 2018 takes a different look at lag time. After analyzing five years of lost-time claims, the new report argues that medical and indemnity costs are not affected by lag time when an injury is reported within the first 12 days. Claims reported after 12 days are more expensive only for soft-tissue injuries or reports delayed by employers.

Lockton also found that most reporting delays lead to higher legal, handling and investigation fees, or allocated loss adjustment expenses (ALAE). Their report, “Report lag: Truths and myths” contends that lag time is a good indicator of claim management practices and suggests that to bring down claim costs, companies need to look closer at the root cause of injuries and implement better safety and post-injury management programs.

The real world

Statistics are useful to explain some parts of reality, but often fail to capture wider issues with deeper impact like culture and communications. A company that values employees will create safety and injury management programs that promote open communications, care coordination and optimal claim handling to facilitate return to work. Feeling valued, injured workers will be engaged in their recovery and they will be less inclined to hire attorneys.

Consider the following examples:

Scenario No. 1: Mr. Jones works for XYZ Corp., a fictitious citrus farming company in Florida.  After falling from a ladder, Mr. Jones is told by his supervisor to go home to recover. Since the pain does not go away, Mr. Jones attends the nearest emergency room and an examination reveals a minor ankle sprain that requires over-the-counter medication and three days of rest. As he leaves the clinic, he learns his health insurance will not pay the bill because this was a work accident, and no one from XYZ Corp. is returning his calls. Concerned about his work and medical costs, and angry since no one is communicating, Mr. Jones consults with an attorney who promises a large settlement.

Scenario No. 2: Consider now ABC Corp., a competitor who takes great care in hiring experienced farm workers with good references. Mr. Smith has the same accident and reports to his supervisor, who in turn calls the company’s injury management team. To rule out a severe strain or fracture, Mr. Smith is driven to the nearest clinic and prescribed the same treatment as Mr. Jones. ABC Corp. agrees to cover medical expenses, calls Mr. Smith to learn he will be resting for the next three days and hires a temporary worker until he returns to work on the fourth day.

Finding the root of the problem

Both cases represent soft-tissue injuries reported within 12 days, but XYZ Corp. is more likely to incur litigation expenses due to lack of communication. Industry reports found a correlation between lag time and claim costs under certain conditions, but did not examine the impact of communication and injury management protocols. So, lag time may be a lagging indicator of an underlying problem, without leading us to the underlying factors that drive claim costs in a particular company.

Today’s workforce uses modern technology to seek guidance and simplify communications, but Google does not separate good from bad medical advice and Facebook can’t isolate injured workers from attorneys paying to advertise their services. Employers who care for their workforce must find ways to have a voice and leverage technology to better manage injuries and communicate with injured workers in order to fill the void that exists between the time of the injury and the claim.

Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 

Source: https://www.propertycasualty360.com/2018/11/01/does-lag-time-impact-claim-costs-or-is-it-a-symptom/

POSTED DECEMBER 03, 2018 6:45 PM
Travelers Insurance: 6 Behavioral Interviewing Tips

An in-person interview can be a critical step in the hiring process and can help a recruiter or hiring manager determine whether a job candidate fits the organizational safety culture and core safety values of your company. Studies have shown that behavioral interviewing1 can be an effective interviewing technique and can help the interviewer understand more about how a candidate might act when faced with a workplace concern or safety issue.

The premise behind behavioral interviewing is that a person’s past behavior can more accurately predict future performance in similar situations. By asking a job candidate how they performed in specific real-life settings, you’ll gain a better idea of how that person may behave if they work at your company. By considering a candidate’s propensity to adopt safe workplace practices, business owners can gain insight into how they will embrace the company’s safety culture.

Infographic of 6 tips of behavioral interviewing

Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 

POSTED DECEMBER 01, 2018 6:00 AM
Happy Thanksgiving!

All of us at Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wish you a blessed Thanksgiving!

Our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 22nd and Friday, November 23rd.

Should there be an emergency, please call my cellphone at 708.436.2973


Happy Thanksgiving!


- Dan Zeiler 

POSTED NOVEMBER 21, 2018 7:19 PM
Congratulations Liam for winning our 2018 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting Advocate ...

Congratulations Liam for winning our 6th Annual Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting Advocate Children's Hospital - Oak Lawn! He will receive a $250 donation in his name to Advocate Children's Hospital - Oak Lawn

Proceeds support Hearts for Hope programs which include bedside magicians, patient parties, family comfort kits, support of reunions for patients and families and much more. Hearts for Hope makes positive impacts on the lives of patients and their families through hands-on volunteering and involvement.

Learn about some of our previous winners and contestants:

2017 Winner 

2016 Winner

2015 Winner

2014 Winner

2012 Winner

We would like to thank all of our contestants and voters for their support and good sportsmanship!

- The Zeiler Insurance Team 

POSTED NOVEMBER 05, 2018 5:07 PM
Deer are Romancing

As deer-mating season gets into full swing, Illinois motorists should be prepared to see more Bambis in the roadway, according to transportation officials.

Vehicle crashes involving deer are most common during breeding season, which begins in autumn and lasts through the winter months. In Illinois these collisions begin to ramp up when deer are most active in October and peak in November, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. November is the month that drivers are most likely to strike a deer. Dawn and dusk carry the highest risk.

In 2016, nearly 15,000 crashes in Illinois involved deer. Many of those collisions occurred on rural roadways during early morning or evening hours.

Illinois has created a map plotting the prevalence of deer-related accidents from 2005 through 2014. In Chicago, stretches of the Kennedy Expressway appear to have the highest deer activity among the major highways.

Because deer are creatures of habit, it’s common to see them taking the same path or doubling back.

During mating season, drivers are encouraged to keep a safe distance between other vehicles and be prepared to stop. Motorists are advised to slow to a stop and wait for deer to move along rather than swerve into traffic or off the road to go around them. Most accidents do not result in the animal being struck. Many drivers swerve instead to avoid the animal and strike a tree or another vehicle. Experts say drivers should hit the deer. It will cause less damage to the car.

To coax deer to move from the roadway, state officials recommend that drivers flash their headlights or honk their horns.


Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 






Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-deer-season-roads-20181019-story.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

POSTED OCTOBER 30, 2018 5:00 AM
2017 Hot Wheels Report

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2017.

While Honda Accords and Civics produced prior to the introduction of anti-theft technology continue to dominate this report, a deeper look at the data demonstrates just how effective anti-theft technology continues to be. A total of (6,707) 1998 Honda Civics were stolen in 2017 compared with just (388) 2017 Civics. Put another way, (17) 1998 Civics were stolen last year for every one 2017 model.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25, 2017 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2017. 

Even with the slight increases in the last few years, the national vehicle theft problem today is at levels not seen since 1967. Enhancements in vehicle security and manufacturing are having a positive impact, but complacency can undermine their success. Thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles, and that invites theft.    
For 2017, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

The following are the top 10, 2017 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2017: 

Download the complete list of 2017’s top 25 most stolen.

Vehicle theft is a severe economic hardship for its victims—especially if a vehicle is uninsured. That is why NICB continues to advise all drivers to review our four “Layers of Protection”: 

  • Common Sense:  Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
  • Warning Device:  Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
  • Immobilizing Device:  Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
  • Tracking Device:  A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Considering a used vehicle purchase? Check out VINCheck®, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.

*This report reflects stolen vehicle data contained in NCIC and present in the “NCIC mirror image” when accessed by NICB on March 5, 2018. NCIC records may contain errors based on inaccurate entries submitted by reporting agencies. Full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.

See the 2017 national report, the state report, an infographic and video.


Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 



Source: https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/2017-hot-wheels-report?platform=hootsuite

POSTED OCTOBER 30, 2018 5:00 AM
6th Annual Costume Contest Benefiting Advocate Children’s Hospital - Oak Lawn!


We are having our 6th annual Halloween Costume Contest for kids.

Winning goblin will receive a $250 donation in their name to Advocate Children’s Hospital - Oak Lawn.

Proceeds support Hearts for Hope programs which include bedside magicians, patient parties, family comfort kits, support of reunions for patients and families and much more. Hearts for Hope makes positive impacts on the lives of patients and their families through hands-on volunteering and involvement.

  • We will post the pictures on our Facebook Page 

  • All pictures will be posted by November 3rd and the picture with the most “LIKES” at noon on Monday, November 5th will win.

  • Email or text your picture to Karli:

Learn about some of our previous winners and contestants:

2017 Winner 

2016 Winner

2015 Winner

2014 Winner

2012 Winner

Thank you & good luck! 

The Zeiler Insurance Team

POSTED OCTOBER 24, 2018 5:00 AM
Why is Business Continuity Important?

Companies today face an unprecedented number of exposures. The frequency and severity of weather-related events seem to be increasing and reliance on a complex network of technology and supply chains is expanding. Both trends leave businesses susceptible to a variety of existing and emerging risks. Managing these risks by developing a business continuity strategy is key to the survival of any organization.

Why Business Continuity?

Business continuity planning is one of the most critical components of any recovery strategy. Unfortunately, not every company develops a continuity plan. Here are a few misconceptions and realities about business continuity planning.

Misconception #1: "Our people will know what to do in an emergency."

Even the best employees cannot be expected to know what to do when disaster strikes. Leaving each to respond in his or her own way only adds to the confusion of an event. Having a well-documented business continuity plan in advance, and training your employees to follow it, gets everyone on the same page - helping to ensure an organized, safe and timely recovery.

Misconception #2: "We have insurance to cover our losses."

Insurance alone is NOT a business continuity strategy. Proper coverage is a significant and important part of the plan. But it may not fully cover some of the peripheral damages from an event, like loss of customers, loss of market share, or setbacks in development or release of a new product. Consult with us to understand what is and is not covered under your policy.

Misconception #3: "We do not have the time to develop a business continuity plan."

Time spent developing and maintaining a business continuity plan is an investment in your company. Your fixed costs will continue after an event, whether or not you are open for business. The faster you can return your operations to normal, the more likely you will recover from the event successfully. With so much at stake, your company cannot afford to NOT have a plan.

Misconception #4: "Business continuity and disaster recovery planning are the same."

Business continuity is a proactive plan to avoid and mitigate risks associated with a disruption of operations. It details steps to be taken before, during and after an event to maintain the financial viability of an organization.

Disaster recovery is a reactive plan for responding after an event. It deals with the safety and restoration of critical personnel, locations, and operational procedures after a disaster, and is a part of business continuity planning.

A Good Investment

Companies that proactively consider how to respond to events are the first to get back to business, often at the expense of competitors. A predefined business continuity plan combined with the proper insurance coverage, maximizes the chance of a successful recovery by eliminating hasty decision-making under stressful conditions. It details how to get businesses back on track after a disruption – in the most thoughtful way possible.

Think Your Business Can Withstand a Disaster? Think Again

Twenty-five percent of businesses do not reopen following a major event. It does not take a major catastrophe to shut down a business. In fact, seemingly minor disruptions compared to widespread natural disasters can often cause significant damage - power failures, broken water pipes, or loss of computer data.

A Travelers study found that 48% of small businesses are operating without any type of business continuity plan, yet 95 percent indicated they felt they were prepared.
  • Is your business continuity plan predominately an insurance policy?
  • Is it predominately an emergency response or evacuation plan?
  • Is it predominately an IT or data recovery plan?
  • Is it something you developed that sits in a binder on a shelf?

If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then your business continuity plan may be giving you a false sense of security.

Business Continuity Planning for a Competitive Advantage

Business continuity planning is more than smart business - it helps your company remain better positioned to recover from the business interruption, property damage, financial impact, and loss of life that a natural disaster or man-made event may cause.

Start Your Business Continuity Planning

Planning for a disruption or catastrophic event should happen when business is going well, not when disaster strikes. Having a pre-defined, well-documented business continuity plan that clearly communicates how your business will respond during an event can help mitigate risk - and is one of the best investments your company can make. 

Dan Zeiler


708.597.5900 x134 

POSTED OCTOBER 03, 2018 7:32 PM

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